The symptoms of urinary incontinence will vary depending on what type of urinary incontinence is present. Approximately nine in every ten sufferers will have either stress incontinence or urge incontinence.
Stress incontinence does not relate to the mental state of feeling stressed. Stress incontinence is caused by pressure being exerted on the bladder. This can happen when you cough, sneeze or laugh. It can also occur during exercise or heavy lifting. Usually, the amount of urine passed is small, but sometimes larger amounts can leak through, especially if the bladder is full.
Urge incontinence is sometimes referred to as urgency incontinence. Typical symptoms include an intense sudden urge to pass urine, leaving the sufferer only a few seconds between urge and urination. Urge incontinence can be triggered by varying factors, such as the sound of running water, a sudden change in position or even during sex, particularly at the point of orgasm. Urge incontinence often occurs where Overactive Bladder Syndrome (OAB) is present. This condition is caused by the bladder muscle being more active than normal. As well as urge incontinence, OAB can cause the sufferer to pass urine more frequently, sometimes resulting in the sufferer having to get up many times in a single night to pass water.
Other forms of urinary incontinence include:
Mixed incontinence: This form includes symptoms of both stress and urge incontinence.
Overflow incontinence: Sometimes called Chronic Urinary Retention. This is when the bladder is unable to fully empty during urination, causing the bladder to swell. This results in frequent passing of small trickles of urine. There is usually an accompanying feeling of the bladder not being completely empty, regardless of how often you attempt to urinate.
Total incontinence: This form of incontinence presents as severe and continuous passing of urine, even at night. Alternatively, total incontinence can involve large amounts of urine being passed occasionally with small amounts being leaked in between.